Japanese artist, Kota Yamazaki, who divides his time between Tokyo, Japan and New York City, returns to the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) from March 14-30 for his second of three residencies to develop the final piece in his Darkness Odyssey trilogy. The work combines Eastern and Western philosophies from modernist French thinkers, Deleuze and Guattari, to Butoh pioneer, Tatsumi Hijikata. Combining these seemingly disparate lineages, Yamazaki imagines the body as a black hole, harnessing the ability to absorb everything it encounters.
Yamazaki first came to MANCC in November 2017 to develop Part 2: I or Hallucination from the same trilogy. Part 2 laid the groundwork for Part 3 by considering the porousness of bodies, the fragility and vaporous nature, and the ability to reflect our ever-changing inner landscapes while exploring our interconnected universe. During his previous residency, Yamazaki had the opportunity to meet with Robert O. Lawton, Dr. Stanley Gontarski, Professor of English, and Professor Lynda Jones, a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. Part 2 went on to premiere with critical acclaim at Baryshnikov Art Center in New York City the following month, and it was nominated for the 2018 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production.
Part 3, Non-Opera, Becoming, will feature a team of international dancers with diverse backgrounds, including Japanese dancer, Taketeru Kudo, one of the few remaining Butoh performers to have trained directly with Hijikata, and an African dancer, Alain Sinandja Tongo, from Togo. Among Kota’s other collaborators are performers Mina Nishimura, Joanna Kotze, Jennifer Gonzalez and Connor Voss, whose experiences and practices span a wide range.
Inspired by these performers, who organically carry the forms of dance they perform, Yamazaki aims to blur the distinction between these dance forms by boiling them down to their most fundamental essence. Yamazaki hopes to address how each dancer deals with self-identity as a performer. He asks,
“How can a performer shift his/her identity by internalizing something foreign?”
As a part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative, Yamazaki and his collaborators will be joined by artist, curator and archivist, Cori Olinghouse, for two days. This time offers an opportunity for Olinghouse to deepen her relationship as a writer with his work; She previously wrote on the first part of his trilogy, Part 2: I or Hallucination, while the artist was in residency at at the Baryshnikov Art Center in 2017. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this initiative is designed to support the re-imagining of dance writing conventions in order to better respond to and engage with a wider range of ever-evolving contemporary forms.
In tandem with Olinghouse’s time in residence as a writer, she will also work closely with MANCC staff in her capacity as a “Living Archives Consultant.” The one-day consultancy will include a review of MANCC’s existing moving image archive and a strategically planned approach on how to move forward to benefit not only the archive, but artists’ practices and the dance field at large. Prior to launching her living archives initiative, The Portal Project, Olinghouse was a dancer and archivist at the renowned Trisha Brown Dance Company in New York City. She also recently served as a visiting faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
This residency, including the Embedded Writers Initiative and archive consultancy, is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.